Cardboard Box Portable Puppet Stage

Maybe it is because I am taking a class on programming for children or maybe it is because I am a fan of Portlandia, but when I saw the carnage left over after assembling my new office chair I knew something needed to be done with it.

I thought it would be fairly simple to create a portable puppet stage that I could sit cross legged behind. The box’s width would fit perfectly with the inner aisle of the Bookmobile. It could potentially add a spooky story time to Halloween or a silly version of the wide mouthed frog.

I didn’t do any research before starting this project. Jumping into it, I removed one of the larger sides, the one that included where the two ends of the cardboard had been joined with staples

At this point, I sat where my dachshund Peanut is standing now and knew that it was a little short for me to be concealed while using my hands for puppets.

puppet stage 4

Paperclip method was no bueno.

This might be okay if I want to include my head in the production, but I want this to be portable and versatile. My first attempt at creating a locking system for the flaps on top was with paperclips and duct tape. One paperclip was attached with a loop side facing out while the other was partially unraveled to form a hook. This was okay, but not secure enough for the occasional, unintentional bump.

I hopped on the internet for some inspiration and watched this video of a man making a much more impressive puppet stage. In his video he secured portions of the structure inserting cut out tabs into gaps in the cardboard. This inspired me to construct a similar system. I cut a thin section off the sides of the top flap, leaving an inch reinforced by duct tape. This remaining nub was used to mark how long and where the cut in the opposite flaps would be placed. Once I made the cut in the opposite flap, I reinforced with duct tape as well.

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I did this on both sides of the top flap and set it up to test it out.

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I folded it up and found it a little cumbersome. Thanks to a large binder clip I happened to have, I can secure it on the side by clamping onto a side flap and the middle panel. The panels also fold out wider so the size of the set varies.

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I’m excited to figure out how to decorate it and plan a puppet story time for the bookmobile. But for now, it is time to kick back and relax.


Time to take it easy.

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